Taking Stock: Where Have You Been?

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Writing

Every so often, it’s important to pause for a moment and take stock of where you’ve been and where you’re going.  I like to do this around holiday time, particularly around Thanksgiving, because it reminds me of all the things I have to be thankful for… things I’ve overcome in my writing journey as well as opportunities still to come.  Today we’ll be focusing on where we’ve been so we can figure out where we want to go next.

When I saw the picture on the left (a team of horses pulling a car out of a ditch, c. 1940) I knew it was perfect for this post.  How many times do we run off the road and need help getting back on track?  I know I need that kind of help all the time.

Like, when I first started developing DIY MFA, I was all mixed up about the brand and the tone of the project.  It took a savvy group of critique partners to help me focus and find my true DIY MFA voice.  These critique partners, aside from giving great advice, were also caring enough to give me “tough love” when I needed it.  After all, critiques that are only glowing and positive can only take you so far.  A true friend is not afraid to tell you when your project is not working.  They just know enough to say it in a kind and constructive way.

What about you?  Where has your writing journey taken you in the 2011 and what have you learned from it since?

Today or tomorrow, I encourage you to do a short free-write to think on this subject.  Use the questions below to prompt your writing.

Taking Stock: Where Have You Been?

• What obstacles have you faced over the past year?  How did you deal with them?  Who was there for you to help you on your way?

• What about your victories?  What were they (be specific)?  Did you celebrate them (even the small ones) in some meaningful way?  Who was there to help you be your best self?

• Did you face any disappointments in the past year?  Any people you thought were in your corner but they let you down?  Can you think of ways to salvage these relationships?  And more importantly, what will you do to nurture yourself and help yourself heal?

• Finally, what is the most important thing you learned from your writing experiences this past year?  How will you use this knowledge to fuel your writing next year?

If you like, please share in the comments a little about where you’ve been with your writing this past year.  We can all learn a lot from hearing about each others obstacles and victories.

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